When you prepare your applications for admission to universities in the United States, you will see that there are different application deadlines. In this article we are going to explain the differences between application deadlines in the United States and the implications of each one. It is important that you know the differences between all of them, and choose correctly because some of them have important implications.
The first and most restrictive of all is Early Decision (ED). It usually occurs between October and November and only a few universities offer this possibility. The most important feature is that the offer is binding. Binding means, if you choose to apply for ED at a college and you are admitted, you must accept the offer (regardless of whether or not you are awarded financial aid or have been admitted to another college). You can only choose to apply to one ED school out of all the schools that offer it, and the admission rate goes up considerably. Our suggestion is that you choose this option only with a college that is your first choice that you can afford, even if they do not give you a scholarship.
The second type is called Early Action (EA) and it is very similar to Early Decision (ED) with the difference being that it is not binding. Early Action is the most used and the one that allows you to have more admission and scholarship options without having to accept a mandatory offer. It usually takes place between October and November and you can apply to all the universities that offer this option. We advise you to choose Early Action, as long as you can and have everything prepared.
The third is a variant of the previous one called Restrictive Early Action (REA). This is only offered by TOP Universities such as Harvard University, MIT or Stanford University among others. It is an Early Action but with the peculiarity that if you choose this modality in a university, you will not be able to choose any more in REA or EA (unless it is a public university). If you break this rule you can be automatically rejected from all the universities you choose as REA. This also occurs between October and November.
The fourth type of date is called Priority Date and it is only a date before the standard date where you are allowed to submit your entire application to be eligible for a scholarship or financial aid. This is usually between November and December, but it depends on the college. Many scholarships are only awarded if you apply for admission before this date, so it is recommended that you review the admissions instructions at each university in advance.
The other type of date is called the Regular Date and is the standard application date for all students. It is usually from January to March (November 30 for California) and has no advantage since this is the date when most students apply for admission. Finally, there is a concept called Rolling Admissions which means that there is no deadline for submitting applications for admission, but it is permanently open until all available places are filled.
At Five Lands International Education, we have the best consultants to help you decide which is the best strategy in terms of application dates for each university. See our programs page or contact us using this form, or call us at +1 (984) 208 5551 for America or +34 689 027 598 for Europe.